BHP confirms approval of $5.7 billion mega-potash project in Saskatchewan, Canada

BHP has given the green light for the development of the Jansen Stage 1 potash project in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, in a move that it says will align the company with ‘future facing commodities in world class assets’.

The long-awaited decision paves the way for a US$5.7 billion investment in the project, which is expected to produce approximately 4.35 million tonnes of potash per annum with potential for further expansion.

First ore is targeted in the 2027 calendar year, with construction expected to take approximately six years, followed by a ramp up period of two years.

“This is an important milestone for BHP and an investment in a new commodity that we believe will create value for shareholders for generations,” said BHP CEO Mike Henry.

Potash is a natural mineral fertiliser that is set to be required in vastly greater quantities in line with growing global population estimations. The Jansen project is located in the world’s best potash basin and is expected to operate for up to 100 years.

As part of its 2021 financial results, BHP took a pre-tax impairment charge of US$1.3 billion covering existing infrastructure spending at the Jansen project. In the market update, the world’s largest mining firm by market capitalisation reported its best annual profit in nearly a decade.

BHP’s underlying profit for fiscal 2021 increased to $17.08 billion – up 88% on the prior year – and it will return $10.1 billion to investors in a record final dividend of $2 per share.